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The Australian Ballet will partner with Greater Shepparton Secondary College this year

The Australian Ballet will partner with Greater Shepparton Secondary College in 2020 to deliver workshops, student performances and special tours to Melbourne productions.

The partnership, supported by the Sir Andrew and Fairley Foundation, marks the fifth year The Australian Ballet has delivered professional mentoring and creative opportunities to Shepparton secondary students.

Since 2016 the partnership has resulted in more than 800 children taking part in the ballet company’s In School Program, which culminates in a performance at Riverlinks Venues, among other benefits.

Hundreds more students are set to take part with a three-year La Trobe University research project to measure the arts program’s success – guaranteeing the partnership will continue until at least 2022.

“The Australian Ballet’s education programs aim to improve outcomes and the overall wellbeing of students, especially those from disadvantaged backgrounds,” Fairley Foundation Executive Officer Amanda McCulloch said.

“This aligns strongly with the Fairley Foundation’s goals of having fewer students disengaged from school and supporting a thriving arts community in Greater Shepparton.”

Key features of the 2020 partnership include:

  • In school classes in the weeks of April 20 and 27th for 200 students from Years 7 and above;
  • Students to present an April 30 performance courtesy venue partner Riverlinks Venues and Greater Shepparton City Council. They will experience a new piece created by Ella Havelka, the first Indigenous dancer in The Australian Ballet;
  • Thirty students to attend a performance of the Australian Ballet in Melbourne;
  • A remote leaders’ mentoring program, to help staff, senior students and community leaders use The Australian Ballet’s digital education resources.

“We’re grateful to The Australian Ballet, the Fairley Foundation and Riverlinks Venues for committing to this valuable partnership for years to come,” Greater Shepparton Secondary School Executive Principal Genevieve Simson said.

“This is a watershed year for the College and the partnership will help forge ties among our students and teachers through dance and artistic learning.”

Katy McKeown, Head of Education at The Australian Ballet said the free program was delivered courtesy of generous donors and partners.

“We hope to continue to inspire young people across Australia to explore the joy of movement and the educational benefits that one gains through dance,” she said.

The Australian Ballet has been inspiring and delighting audiences across the country and overseas for almost 60 years. The Fairley Foundation has served Greater Shepparton for almost as long with a bequest set up by founder and philanthropist Sir Andrew Fairley in 1965.


 Students at the Dookie camp enjoy fishing at Caseys Weir

Students on the Dookie camp drop a line at Casey's Weir

Yabby racing, scaling Mount Major and Indigenous games came together for a group of incoming Year 9 students who took part in a special transition camp at Dookie recently.

About 55 current Year 8 students from Shepparton’s secondary schools of Mooroopna, Wanganui Park, Shepparton High and McGuire College were selected for the December camp to develop their leadership and team-building skills.

The Leadership and Regional Careers Camp expanded on an annual agricultural camp that takes advantage of the accommodation and teaching resources of the University of Melbourne’s Dookie College.

“It is about building resilience and leadership among our young people along with more practical life and work-ready skills,” Wanganui Park Assistant Principal Karen Utber said.

This year was particularly special. The careers focus went beyond farming skills and the event marked an important opportunity for a large contingent of incoming Year 9 students to build relationships before they all come together at Mooroopna next year as part of the new Greater Shepparton Secondary College.

The camp was co-designed by the Greater Shepparton Lighthouse Project and the University of Melbourne, with funding from the Victorian Department of Education and Training.

“The camp activities ranged from nutrition and healthy eating, yoga, career sessions with local employers to more active outdoor activities,” Lighthouse Executive Officer Lisa McKenzie said.

Students were able to try their hand at sheep drafting at local farm Toland Merino, mix with calves at the University of Melbourne’s robotic dairy, drop a fishing line at Casey’s Weir, watch an outdoor movie and more.

“The children chose from career sessions in areas like the environment, health, agriculture and transport and all took part in a ‘Bully Zero’ workshop and an orienteering exercise to teach problem-solving skills,” Ms McKenzie said.

“We know this experience has delivered great results past participants,” Ms Utber said. “We are confident it will also help forge important friendships going into Greater Shepparton Secondary College.”